Comparative transcriptomic analysis of the different developmental stages of ovary in red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii

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Background: The red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii is a freshwater species that possesses high adaptability, environmental tolerance, and fecundity. P. clarkii is artificially farmed on a large scale in China. However, the molecular mechanisms of ovarian development in P. clarkii remain largely unknown. In this study, we identified four stages of P. clarkii ovary development, the previtellogenic stage (stage I), early vitellogenic stage (stage II), middle vitellogenic stage (stage III), and mature stage (stage IV) and compared the transcriptomics among these four stages through next-generation sequencing (NGS). Results: The total numbers of clean reads of the four stages ranged from 42,013,648 to 62,220,956. A total of 216,444 unigenes were obtained, and the GC content of most unigenes was slightly less than the AT content. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Anosim analysis demonstrated that the grouping of these four stages was feasible, and each stage could be distinguished from the others. In the expression pattern analysis, 2301 genes were continuously increase from stage I to stage IV, and 2660 genes were sharply decrease at stage IV compared to stages I-III. By comparing each of the stages at the same time, four clusters of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were found to be uniquely highly expressed in stage I (136 genes), stage II (43 genes), stage III-IV (49 genes), and stage IV (22 genes), thus exhibiting developmental stage specificity. Moreover, in comparisons between adjacent stages, the number of DEGs between stage III and IV was the highest. GO enrichment analysis demonstrated that nutrient reservoir activity was highest at stage II and that this played a foreshadowing role in ovarian development, and the GO terms of cell, intracellular and organelle participated in the ovary maturation during later stages. In addition, KEGG pathway analysis revealed that the early development of the ovary was mainly associated with the PI3K-Akt signaling pathway and focal adhesion; the middle developmental period was related to apoptosis, lysine biosynthesis, and the NF-kappa B signaling pathway; the late developmental period was involved with the cell cycle and the p53 signaling pathway. Conclusion: These transcriptomic data provide insights into the molecular mechanisms of ovarian development in P. clarkii. The results will be helpful for improving the reproduction and development of this aquatic species.




Zhong, Y., Zhao, W., Tang, Z., Huang, L., Zhu, X., Liang, X., … Lu, Z. (2021). Comparative transcriptomic analysis of the different developmental stages of ovary in red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii. BMC Genomics, 22(1).

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